The injury to Klay Thompson was a gut punch to the Golden State Warriors, who still have aspirations of making a Championship run this season.
And while they’ve done a good job bringing in replacements for Thompson, there is a sense it may still not be enough to bring home the prize in a loaded Western Conference.
Needless to say, the Dubs could change that rhetoric with a trade — and they have the assets to pull of something huge.
In Houston, the imploding Rockets sit on the verge of collapse and James Harden has already checked out. For the right package, H-Town may be inclined to grant his request and send him packing. Could the Warriors be the team to do it?
With a monster package centered around Andrew Wiggins and future assets, it’s certainly possible that the Warriors end up with one of the game’s All-Time leading scorers. In a recent article by Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, he highlights the specifics of how such a deal would look:
Golden State Warriors Receive: James Harden, P.J. Tucker
Houston Rockets Receive: Kevon Looney, Eric Paschall, Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, Minnesota’s 2021 first-round pick (top-three protection), 2022 first-round swap, 2024 first-round pick, 2025 first-round swap, 2026 first-round pick
The Warriors pair two exceptional scorers in Steph and Harden, imminently moving them to the top of the title contention list. Despite questions about how Harden’s pairing with Steph might affect Thompson’s return in 2021, it’s worth a shot if the DUbs are serious about maximizing their chance to win in wake of a heartbreaking injury.
Exploring nuclear scenarios shouldn’t be off the table for the Warriors in the wake of Klay Thompson’s injury. Moments like this reemphasize the fragility of title windows—and, specifically, Golden State’s window.
Some will argue the Warriors should think about blowing it up and starting over. That’s unrealistic. Whatever you think of Draymond Green and James Wiseman, they still have Stephen Curry. Teams don’t throw away opportunities to win with a top-five player unless their hand is forced, and Curry isn’t among the stars on trade-demand watch.
The Rockets get some pretty exciting young players in return, including Wiseman, Paschall, and Wiggins. They also get picks to set them up for further development in the future.
This package holds more water if the Rockets warm up to a gradual rebuild. Almost no other team can guarantee two top-end firsts—Wiseman and the 2021 Minnesota pick—with the potential to get more. And landing Eric Paschall isn’t akin to getting an afterthought. Houston can futz with the framework of this deal to remove Tucker or try extending Golden State’s pick obligations out another draft or two. The Warriors shouldn’t be entirely opposed if they think Harden assures them another three or more years of title contention (he has a player option for 2022-23).
Whatever your opinion of The Beard, his scoring prowess is unmatched in today’s NBA, and alongside Steph Curry and a system that seemingly makes everyone better, he would thrive, and the Warriors would be near impossible to stop offensively.
It’s a good move for them, but there’s no promise Harden is going anywhere — especially not to a team in the West that is already so stacked with great talent.